Darlinghurst Theatre Company presents the world premiere of new Australian work Remembering Pirates by Christopher Harley. Directed by Iain Sinclair, this production is bound to captivate.
The children in J.M. Barrie’s original Peter Pan have grown up. They’re living lives devoid of magic and adventure. Wendy is unhappily married, John is a history teacher and Michael has disappeared. Wendy and John remember a time when life was simple, when sticks were swords and pirates were the enemy. They’ve both been holding on to hope since their bother went missing, but Wendy’s version of events differs from John’s. He doesn’t want to let go of those childhood games and adventures, while she wants nothing more than to forget.
Harley’s play is a dark retelling of Barrie’s original story of the boy who never grew up. A far cry from the lighthearted, sanitised Disney version we’ve come to know. This understated production is rife with tension from beginning to end, and offers some beautiful performances.
As John, Simon London is steadfast. He finds a lovely balance between childish optimism and adult cynicism, and displays exceptional comic timing.
Stephen Multari, Robert Alexander and Fraser Crane support. Multari as Wendy’s husband Richard doesn’t quite hit his stride, and feels a little stilted. Alexander does well in the difficult role of senile Mr Darling, and Crane as Peter Pan brings a nice energy to the stage.
Set design by Alicia Clements is highly effective: a simple set-up with two chairs, two doors, one wall and billowing curtains. Lit stunningly by Daniel Barber, this simplicity allows Harley’s words to transport us freely.
Remembering Pirates is about memories. It questions their importance, how they shape our lives, how they morph as they fade, when we should let them go. It also explores the dangerous reality that two people can remember the same event very differently. It’s a thrilling play that captivates until its climactic end, and this production of it shouldn’t be missed.
Alana Kaye – Theatre Now
16 Sep – 16 Oct 2016
By Christopher Harley